A study prepared for Environmental Defence is arguing that eliminating truck tolls on Ontario’s Highway 407 would better improve freight mobility in the Greater Toronto Area than plans to build the all-new Highway 413.
“Like the 413, the 407 ETR allows users to pass around Toronto without interfacing with the busiest sections of [Highway 401],” the study says, referring to the privately owned toll route. “Unlike the 413, the 407 ETR is already in use, albeit underutilized due to high toll fees. The 407 ETR has the added advantage of being located south of the proposed 413 route, reducing journey times for those looking to travel east to west [or vice versa].”
Subsidized tolls have been proposed by Transport Action Ontario (formerly Transport 2000 Ontario) — a non-government organization that advocates for rail and bus-based public transportation.
Fully subsidizing truck tolls for 30 years would cost $4 billion compared to the projected $6 billion to construct Highway 413, the report says, suggesting that actual construction costs will be higher. Tolls for truckers are as high as $1.87 per kilometer during peak hours and at peak locations.
Truckers would also shave an estimated 80 minutes off trips that would otherwise be on Highway 401. And Environmental Defence estimates the change would move 12,000 to 21,000 trucks a day off Highway 401.
The proposed 52-km Highway 413 would link the Highway 401/407 interchange at the Halton-Peel boundary to Highway 400 north of Vaughan, with two extensions connecting with highways 410 and 427.
Supporters of Highway 413 have argued that the route will alleviate congestion and create jobs, while opponents argue that it will contribute to urban sprawl and cut into natural spaces.
The report was completed by Eunomia Research and Consulting.
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